TO OUR READERS: Plagiarism unexpected, insulting and inexcusable
The Justice Editorial Board is deeply disturbed by the recent instances of plagiarism that have appeared in our pages. Michael Camp '07 copied articles not only from other Justice writers, but also from such news sources as the Lafayette, La.-based Daily Advertiser, The Boston Phoenix, and Boston University's Daily Free Press-only to name a few. Not only is this act morally reprehensible, it also damages the credibility of journalism at Brandeis, and, on a greater level, intellectual output throughout the University.Aside from the clear ethical violations, plagiarism is illegal. High-profile offenses such as those of Jayson Blair in The New York Times and Stephen Glass in The New Republic have brought the gravity of plagiarism into the public consciousness. Indeed, it is fortunate that Camp's violation occurred at Brandeis, as the legal and professional repercussions in the professional realm would have been dire. Yet, just as it is intolerable in the professional realm, so it is also unacceptable on the collegiate level.
Camp's violation of journalistic code has breached the trust not only of this Editorial Board, but also of the Justice readership as a whole. It is taken for granted that the words that appear in our issues are original. Our readers should never have to question the integrity of their source for campus news and criticism, and Camp has robbed us all of that security.
Furthermore, these acts of plagiarism insult the subjects of Camp's writing. Members of B'yachad and the other groups that performed at "Standing-O," whose event was the subject of a review that exposed Camp's failure of integrity, are right to feel slighted. If they are to be featured in this publication's pages, their hard work deserves to be met with hard work and serious appraisal on the reviewer's part. One ostensibly elects to write for a campus publication out of interest and for personal edification. That Camp's position was uncompensated and strictly voluntary makes these incidents particularly insulting. For this reason, we further apologize to B'yachad and the other subjects of Camp's plagiarism.
Our collective eyes have been opened to a serious problem that is, perhaps, all-too-present at Brandeis. Camp's violation should lead us all to question how far this problem extends. All of us should be familiar with the Rights and Responsibilities of this university, particularly the section on academic integrity. From day one, the absolute necessity of truth and honesty in all work done in our academic pursuits has been repeated to us. Whether working for a grade or for personal interest, our dedication to these ideals must be unwavering.
We must therefore begin to ask ourselves some difficult questions. Are our campus publications the original works of student writers and artists? Are our peers turning in papers plagiarized from outside sources? As troubling as these questions are, in light of the recent discoveries of plagiarism in the Justice, they beg to be examined and answered.
The Justice Editorial Board is ashamed and remorseful. That such an offense occurred, that it occurred multiple times and that it went unnoticed until now is unacceptable. As we struggle to maintain the trust of our readership, writers like Camp undermine our efforts toward preserving the highest possible journalistic standards. We can only hope that our readers will accept our deepest apology and our assurance that we will not and do not tolerate the theft of writing or reporting in our pages.